Ahead of their long-awaited battle in the first knock-out round of the massive Student DJ program competition, we fire questions at Mostafa Emad and John Damien and let you decide who has the better answers...
Every week until the big Student DJ Program final, we’ll be brining in the two DJs set to battle, ahead of their gig at Fairmont Nile City rooftop, for a special quick-fire interview of some interesting (but mostly ridiculous) questions. The rest is up to you! Let us know who you think has the best answers then go and cheer on your favourite.
Tomorrow, Friday 10th May, partygoers will be treated to a deck-dazzling set by visiting DJ Rob Made, making his way from London to inaugurate the battle rounds. First up, Mostafa Emad takes on John Damien but let us introduce you to the budding DJs before we get to the questions.
Into electronic music since the age of 12, Mostafa Emad stumbled upon DJing when he figured out that he can “mix” on his PC using two media players and two songs at the same tempo. Eventually, he cottoned on to the fact that there is software and equipment especially created for this, and that it’s an occupation called “DJ”. He quickly borrowed a friend’s CDJ and started playing. Literally. Never having watched a tutorial or read a guide on DJing, he just messed about with the buttons and knobs until some nice sounds came out. The self-taught mixer started off at small, private venues, almost exclusively play Hip Hop, then Hip House, when that whole trend started. A regular at the hotspots of yesteryear (think Maadi’s Rio or White in Zamalek), he found that House music was his calling, though he still dabbles in Hip Hop when he has the chance. Married at age 21 (and still married two years later at 23), Emad is not only spoken for in that regard, but he also works at an advertising agency AND is at MSA University, though he hopes to be at the London School of Sound by the end of the year. Asked why he entered the Student DJ competition he says “I want to be a DJ on the international scene. My dream is to play in Ibiza and I’ve been everywhere locally so it’s time to take it to the next level.”
Inspired by the mixtapes his older brother used to by when he was a wee lad of just eight years, John Damien has been mixing non-stop ever since, first starting as a “PC DJ” and wowing his friends at school talent shows. At age 14, he got his own Pioneer decks and hasn’t looked back since. Starting with House music, before being pulled towards Trance, he finds himself once again back in the House scene, where he wants to stay for good. Now 20 years old, Damien has achieved lots in his fast-tracked career, having DJ’d at Tamarai at just 16 years old and been invited to play at the coolest parties in Agami and the North Coast. Having grown a little tired of these chaotic festival-style beach parties which he dubs “cock-fests”, his aim is to be the go-to man for the crème de la crème of the Cairo clubbing scene and has his eyes set on Nacelle, Electrum Records and byGanz gigs. And we don’t see why not. Having been named the 29th top DJ in the Middle East by DJ Mag (and being the youngest on the list), he’s already getting attention, which will surely help him achieve his dream of playing at the Ultra Festival. When asked why he entered the Student DJ competition he says: “Some DJs play records and others blow minds. I want to be one of the others.”
Got it? Now let the battle begin:
What did your mother say when you told her you wanted to be a DJ?
John: She was proud.
Mostafa: She supported me.
What was the most important thing you learned at Bootcamp?
John: Scratching and looping and opening up my eyes to a new vision of House music, where you have satisfy everyone, not just yourself with what you play.
Mostafa: I forgotten the question because John’s answer was so long. *Question repeated* Teamwork.
Describe your musical style in three words?
John: It’s House music. Deep, Tech… *Interrupted for being longer than three words*
Mostafa: Indie, Tech, Deep.
Who are your musical influences?
John: Maceo Plex, James Zabiela, Rik Parkinson.
Mostafa: Maceo Plex, Jamie XX, James Zabiela.
If you could DJ with one animal, which would it be and why?
John: An eagle. I think it will inject some energy.
Mostafa: A chimpanzee. I’ll get to teach him how to DJ and it’ll be really funny to play back-to-back with him.
Finish this sentence: I want to be a DJ because… a) Bitches, b) Fame, c) Orangutans or d) Generic answer like ‘I love music’.
John: Because I love music.
Mostafa: All of the above!
John: Also, a) Bitches.
If you could only listen to one track for the rest of your life, what would it be?
John: Anything by Pink Floyd.
Mostafa: Made to Feel Loved by Reflekt
What’s your secret weapon for the battle?
John: Entertaining the crowd.
Mostafa: Me, myself and I!
Who do you think is going to win the Student DJ Program overall?
That was a test to see if you’re good sports. You failed.
See Mostafa Emad and John Damien go head to head, after you’re thoroughly warmed up by DJ Rob Made at Fairmont Nile City from 10pm. Keep up to date with everything from the Student DJ Program on their Facebook page here and follow @StudentDJProg.